Rio 2016 champions continue form in Gavirate

Para rowers especially tested the new 2,000m distance format. 16 May 2017
Man in rowing boat

Ukraine's Roman Polianskyi remains the man to beat after another World Cup win

By Fumiaki Fujita and IPC

Roman Polianskyi and Great Britain’s mixed coxed four crew were among the Paralympic champions to shine at the first major international regatta of the season held 12-14 May in Gavirate, Italy.

With World Rowing doubling the Para rowing distance to 2,000m, the International Para Rowing Regatta especially provided an opportunity for the athletes to test the new distance against tough competition. The Regatta featured a unique three-day format that saw the same Para rowing boat classes race twice. Friday heats were seeded directly into the Saturday finals, followed by redrawn heats leading to Sunday finals.

Ukraine saw the most success with 11 medals (five golds), led by Rio 2016 men’s single sculls champion Polianskyi. The Ukrainian dominated the PR1M1x event, finishing ahead of Great Britain’s Andy Houghton by 27.04 and 26.06 seconds on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

Fellow Ukrainian Iaroslav Koiuda improved his Saturday’s silver medal performance and swapped with Great Britain’s Laurence Whiteley for the top podium on Sunday’s PR2M1x non-Paralympic event. Dmytro Ivanov claimed silver after not finishing the day before. Whiteley completed the Sunday’s podium with bronze.

Great Britain secured gold on both days in PR3Mix4+. On Saturday, two new members Emma Todd and Oliver Stanhope joined James Fox and Grace Clough, with both returning from the boat that won gold in Rio 2016. On Sunday, Rob Sargent replaced Stanhope.

Israel’s world champion and Rio 2016 bronze medallist Moran Samuel had a 100 per cent winning record in the women’s single sculls. She won the PR1W1x after a close race with Norwegian Birgit Skarstein. Germany’s Sylvi Pille-Steppart clinched back-to-back bronze medals.

A reversal from Rio came in the PR2 mixed double where the Netherlands crew of veteran Paralympian Corne De Koning and newcomer Annika Van Der Meer bested the experienced French duo, Perle Bouge and Stephane Tardieu, who had claimed bronze in Rio 2016 and silver in London 2012.

Hosts Italy claimed gold and silver in the non-Paralympic event PR3IDMix4+.

Complete results from the Gavirate International Para Rowing Regatta can be found on World Rowing’s website.

Up next is the World Rowing Cup II from 15-18 June in Poznan.